What You Need to Know Before Signing a Moving Contract

Many homebuyers and sellers opt to use a professional moving service to cut down on the stress of relocating. There are many benefits when using professional movers, including expert packing and safe transportation of fragile belongings. However, when choosing what moving company to use, it is important to arm yourself with knowledge of the moving contract. Learning the definitions of the seven terms listed below will help you protect your beloved items and use your money wisely.

Shipper and Carrier

The terms “shipper” and “carrier” are used in a moving contract to refer to the two parties involved in the moving process. The shipper refers to the home buyer or seller that is allowing their goods to be transported, or shipped, by the moving company. In contrast, the term carrier refers to the moving company that is transporting or carrying, your items to a new location.

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is the actual moving contract and lists the items the sender is shipping. The sender will be asked to sign this document both at the beginning and end of the move to determine the ownership of the items and recognize that the delivery had been made.

Moving Broker and Moving Company

When sifting through the options for movers online, you may come across two different options: moving brokers and moving companies. Moving brokers work as intermediaries by finding and contacting moving companies for you. Brokers require upfront fees for their services, which you must pay in addition to the cost of the moving company they choose. On the other hand, homebuyers and sellers are in direct contact with moving companies which in turn saves you money.


To determine the amount they will charge you, a moving company will provide an estimate based on the weight of your belongings and the distance that will be traveled. There are three types of interstate estimates for moving companies to use. A binding estimate means that the shipper will pay exactly what was estimated, even if the weight of the shipment is higher or lower than the estimate. This type of estimate is good for budgeting, as you can expect to pay a specified amount before the moving process commences. In contrast, a non-binding estimate means that the final moving costs can vary from the previous estimate. The final payment is determined by the actual weight of the shipment, which provides greater accuracy. While this estimate type has the potential to save you money, it is difficult to budget. The final estimate is the not-to-exceed estimate, which means you will pay only what is agreed to after the estimate has been made. This type of estimate is popular because you will pay less if the shipment weighs less than the estimate. However, the moving contract can be voided if you decide to add more items to the initial shipment after the estimate has been made and the contract is signed.

Valuation Protection

Valuation protection is essentially insurance that moving companies may provide for your belongings. Released value protection is provided at no cost to you, but full value coverage must be paid for based on the value and weight of the goods. Understanding the difference between these two types can aid you in determining the best protection plan for your important items. For this reason, it is recommended that you always ask moving companies to explain each type before signing the moving agreement.